Dolores’s Thank You

Thank you, Dr. Sarno!

For years I have wanted to thank you for changing my life for better. This is a minimal way I feel I can communicate with you and share my appreciation.

I am probably the most fervent advocate of your teachings in the Dominican Republic. I have purchased and continue to purchase several of your books and frequently lend them to friends here.

My story… For two years I suffered from acute pain and had ups and downs… carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, bursitis, etc. I visited a wide range of traditional and non-traditional practitioners (Chinese and Japanese acupuncture, osteopathy, Feldenkreis method, cortisone shots, pain killers, Ceragem Korean massage beds, Inverter table, etc.). I had been seen by rheumatologist, orthopedist, geriatrician, endocrinologist, etc.

None could give me a clear diagnose of what was causing this terrible pain. Most provided temporary relief. But the pain would recur. The pain got so severe I had to work standing up. I could barely sit.

I was in severe pain when a friend noticed my acute discomfort when having dinner at a restaurant and said he would help. The next day he lent me two of your earliest books. He explained the books had been lent to him by a friend who had consulted with you in New York and had been cured. My friend had also been cured by reading the books and today is a triathlete.

As many others have written, I saw myself (unforgiving perfectionist personality) reflected in the explanations in the books and recall curing myself by reading and re-reading the chapters in less than a week.

I have had several recurrences and have just gone back to reading your books. The latest was when I noticed a close friend suffering from TMS. I had to retake the reading to get cured again.

The books are like bibles to me. When cured I have felt like the biblical Lazarus: I got up and walked. I now understand miracles. And I understand one has to believe to be cured.

I cannot thank you enough for your brilliance and sharing your knowledge. You should have already won the Noble Prize for helping so many people.

I will do all possible to continue to spread this knowledge.


Barbara’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

I can’t thank you enough – you have changed my life. I put my back “out” about six years ago and was laid up for about 9 months until a friend recommended your book “Healing Back Pain” and I read a short write-up about your work in “Time” magazine. It made perfect sense to me, so I ordered the “Mindbody Prescription” and did what your patient recommended – I started writing everything down that I could possibly be angry or upset about. Well, at the time I thought that I was pretty in touch with my feelings because I had been in Primal Therapy since 1980. But I just started writing anyway and ended up with 2 full pages – LOL!! What came out was that I had been trying to be the good wife to my husband and was completely unaware of what I wanted. So, within two days I was out of bed (scared out of my mind, of course, thinking I’d end up in a wheelchair) and haven’t looked back!! I have been pain free since then!! And I had it bad – sciatica pain down my right leg and one of my little toes was completely numb. All gone!!! But the really cool thing aside from the back pain is that I have been using your method for everything now – if I feel like I’m getting sick, I either write down or just think about what it is that I’m not looking at. And then I don’t have to get sick. It’s incredible!!

So, you have changed my life – like I said, I can’t thank you enough!!!!

All the best to you- enjoy your retirement!!

Best regards,

River’s Thank You

Dear Dr. Sarno,

From the time I was eighteen to the age of twenty-one I suffered with debilitating back pain. I couldn’t get out of bed some days. I had to stop doing all the physical things I loved like training in the martial arts. The “doctors” (and I had many) told me I had slipped discs, herniated discs, degenerative disc disorder, twisted spine, pinched nerves and sciatica. I went to every different kind of doctor, surgeon, chiropractor, acupuncturist, and faith healer you can imagine. By the time I was twenty-one I was clinically depressed because of my pain and contemplating suicide, which I felt at the time would be my only relief.

Then I found your second book Healing Back Pain. Two weeks later I was completely pain free and twenty years later I am still pain free. I am also a much healthier person in general than I have ever been thanks to what I learned from your book. As far as I’m concerned you are a genius and you saved my life. Those that have never suffered the pain I suffered and realized the miracle of your treatment will not understand what a treasure you are for humanity, but I know. When you said, “Don’t listen to your doctor, do the things you love and don’t be afraid of pain” it was as if a divine light went off in my head. I felt that finally there was a doctor that knew what he was talking about and wasn’t just trying to sell me drugs and surgery. Your concepts of TMS saved my life and as a result I was able to save another person’s life.

A friend of mine was randomly complaining about her constant back pain that had been plaguing her for some time. Her doctor told her the same hogwash they told me; slipped discs and jargon. I told her my story and explained to her your theories of TMS. She accepted them and a week later she was pain free. That’s all it took to help someone else! The truths you discovered are radiating out into the world and saving people from unnecessary suffering. Whether you are ever acknowledged by the half wits in the medical community or not, you are a saint in the hearts of thousands, and someday millions, of people throughout the world. You will go down in history as a true healer and that legacy is well deserved.

Thank you Dr. Sarno. Thank you for being brave and putting the health of your patients above the money you might have made selling drugs and surgery.

Thank you. I am forever in debt to you.

– River

Laura’s Thank You

Laura's Thank You
Dear Dr. Sarno,

You certainly changed my life for the better in so many ways!

I was 33 years old and the mother of two daughters, ages 15 months and 6 months of age, when “out of the blue,”I began to suffer excruciating lower back pain/sciatica– worse pain than the two natural childbirths I had recently experienced.

I found your book “Mind Over back Pain” and immediately booked an appointment with you at NYU’s Rusk Institute.

Within a month my back pain was gone.

Over the years I’ve had other TMS symptoms– Shoulder/neck pain, and foot pain, for example, and sometimes it took me awhile to realize that this new pain was just another manifestation of my old symdrome.

I think of any new pain symptom as my personal canary in the coal mine– alerting me that I am getting too close to the edge of my emotional comfort zone.

Your work not only gave me a life free of chronic pain and possible addiction to pain medications, but it also opened my mind to many other facets of mind/body medicine and emotional wellness.

I have traveled the world and enjoyed an active life all because of you– here is a photo of my husband Russ and me at the Great Wall of China in 2011!

I am eternally grateful! You are an amazing human being.

Thank you!


Robin’s Thank You

Dr. Sarno,

There is nothing I could write or do to convey the appreciation I have for you and the work you have done to help me.

For 15 years I suffered with many of the traditional TMS symptoms, especially back pain and sciatica. Like many others, I was told it was due to structural abnormalities, bulging discs, etc… I saw chiropractors, physical therapists, naprapaths and even acupuncturists. None of them helped beyond a very short time period.

After having kids, the pain got so bad that I was ready to go to a pain management clinic, get surgery, take prescription medication or whatever it took to control the pain. But a friend recommended your book, Healing Back Pain. After reading it and The Divided Mind three times each, I was finally able to get rid of the back, neck, sciatic and shoulder pain that I had been dealing with for so long. I discarded my back supports, electro stimulation belt, heating pads, ice packs, and immediately stopped seeking medical treatment.

The symptom imperative kicked in and I hit a few speed bumps. However, today I am completely pain free and able to be emotionally and physically involved in the lives of my wife and one year old twin boys.

Thank you, sincerely,


KO’s Thank You

I was living in NYC, working in film production, and running 15 – 20 miles a week.  Magazine articles warned about running on pavement and advised making sure there was enough support in running shoes.  I never had a hint of a problem until one day on a particularly stressful shoot I was impatiently hauling an ice chest from one part of the set to the other, and it happened.  I pulled a muscle in my back.  The next morning I felt an electric-like jolt when I leaned over the sink to brush my teeth, followed by an incredibly painful muscle spasm that dropped me to my knees.  When I could move again I called a friend who recommended a physical therapist.  She listened to my story and told me I had probably herniated a disc and that the “electric” feeling was caused by the disc impinging on my sciatic nerve.  I could picture it.  My back kept spasming.  I took muscle relaxers that made my tongue thick and uncooperative.  The sciatica hurt, and I took pain pills that would have knocked out a horse.  I slept on a mat on our hard wood floor.  Nothing worked.  Over the next few months the sciatica crept down my leg and finally reached all the way into my heel which became tingly and numb.

As it went from bad to worse, I went to chiropractors.  I got Rolfed(TM).  I got acupuncture.  I got acupuncture with pulses of electricity running through it.  I went to back specialists recommended by heads of athletic departments.  I was X-rayed, CAT Scanned, and MRI’d.  I learned I have scoliosis, extensive arthritic degeneration of my bottom 5 vertebrae, and several more slightly herniated discs that would surely cripple me if nothing was done.  In any event, I was advised never to run again.  The pain had become so bad, I couldn’t walk more than 3 or 4 feet without tearing up.  I couldn’t sit upright, so I worked lying on my back.  I slept with my right knee propped on hard pillows.  A very expensive specialist with a posh office overlooking Columbus Circle told me I might never walk again if I didn’t have surgery immediately.

A producer I met gave me a copy of Dr. Sarno’s book “Mind Over Back Pain.”  I was insulted.  I didn’t accept the idea that this kind of pain was in my head.  I had cat scans, mri’s, and an x-ray that showed the horrific problems in my spine.  If I touched the place where the herniated disc was impinging on the nerve, the pain was so intense it made me nauseous.  But I was terrified of back surgery going wrong.  I wanted to run again.  So I read the book. Cover to cover.  It was encouraging.  It made sense.  I hoped it was true, but I wasn’t sure.  I mentioned Dr. Sarno to the last back doctor I will ever see.  He hadn’t read the book, but he’d heard of Dr. Sarno, and he scoffed at the mind-body connection in a smug way that I found offensive.  So I called Dr. Sarno’s office to make an appointment to see the man himself.  I was told he didn’t take many patients, and that the waiting list was months long.  I begged.  I pleaded. I somehow convinced his secretary to put me on the phone with him.

Dr. Sarno: “This is John Sarno.”

Me: “Dr. Sarno, thank you for taking my call. I read your book and I think I’m a Sarno patient, but I need to see you to be sure.”

Dr. Sarno: “You should read the book again instead.”

Me: “You don’t understand, I’ve…(and here I listed what I’d been through)…and I just need to be sure there’s really nothing wrong with my back.”

Dr. Sarno:  “There’s nothing wrong with your back.”

Me:  “I just need to see you in person.”

Dr. Sarno:  “I’m not charismatic.  I’m not going to ‘heal’ you.”

Me:  “Please, if you could just see me so I can be sure.”

Dr. Sarno:  “Young lady, it’s very expensive.  And I don’t take insurance.”

Me (sensing he was going to give in):  “That’s fine!”

Dr. Sarno:  “(audible sigh) Ok.  I’ll put you back on with my secretary.”

She had a cancellation for the next day.  My husband carried me through the halls of NYU hospital to Dr. Sarno’s small waiting room where I lay on the floor.  When he called my name, I raised myself with my hands underneath me, crawled into his office front-wise, and lowered myself gingerly onto the floor next to the chair that was there.  He peered over the desk at me.  A small man with salt and pepper hair and black glasses, he gestured impatiently at the chair, “Aren’t you going to sit?”

“I can’t.”  I said and my tears started to roll.

“So you read my book?” he asked.

“Yes, twice.” I said.

“I have a new one coming out.  I advise writing down everything that’s upsetting you.  What do you do for a living?”

“I work in film production.”

He groaned.  “You don’t know how many of you people I get in here.”  I could see he was taking notes.

I had brought my scans in big envelopes.  I asked him if he wanted to see them.  He said no.   I asked, “How do you KNOW there’s nothing wrong with my back?”

He waved his hand dismissively at the envelopes I offered,  “You wouldn’t have been able to crawl in here like a crab if there was anything wrong with your back.”

I said, “But there’s a place there that hurts so much when I touch it, it makes me want to vomit.”

He lowered his glasses and looked over the desk at me, “Don’t touch it.”

I thought about that for a second.  “Don’t you even want to examine me?”

“Ok.” He seemed resigned.  He stood up and opened a door behind him that connected to a small examining room.  As I scooted on hands and feet toward the room, I told him my leg was numb along the back and down to the heel.  Once I had made my way up onto the table, he did a needle test on the back of my leg and confirmed, “You’re right.  It’s  numb.”

“Doesn’t that mean anything?”

“No.”  He repeated some of the facts about TMS and how the symptoms develop that I recalled from his book.  He told me he’d written a new book incorporating what he’d learned since he’d written the first one.  I started to believe him.

I made myself stand up and walk out.  The whole thing had taken 15 minutes.

In the waiting room I leaned on my amazed husband.  It was painful.  But I was standing, and walking.

“By the way,” Dr. Sarno said from his office door, “don’t sleep with a pillow under your knee anymore.”  I hadn’t mentioned the pillows.

The pain and numbness took several months to go completely away, but my recovery started that day.  There was nothing wrong with my back.  Patients of Dr. Sarno were encouraged to attend a class he taught about the mind-body connection and how we needed to reinforce the association between chronic pain and life-stresses. I took the class.

I saw a therapist, briefly.  I filled notebook after notebook with lists of things that were making me angry, scaring me, and upsetting me.  I listed the same things over and over again.  I was never going to be able to change most of the them, but acknowledging them, driving the association between the things on the list and the pain into my subconscious finally ended my ordeal.

I still get what I call “Sarno Things.”  It’s my personality.  At stressful times I’ve had mock arthritis, mock bursitis, mock “runner’s knee,” mock TMJ, mock carpal tunnel, mock plantar faciitis.  As soon as I realize what is happening, I stop and make myself list everything that’s bothering me.  If I’m running, I ignore the pain and make the lists in my head.  And every time the pain goes away like a headache fades when you take ibuprofen.

I know I will never have chronic pain again.  I don’t pay money  to masseuses or chiropractors.  I don’t worry about running on cement, or the shape of my running shoes.  I run 20 to 30 miles a week.  My life is my own, thanks to you, Dr. John Sarno.  For as long as I live I will be grateful to you.

I hope you enjoy your retirement.

All the very best,